NewsInspiring South Florida


Paralyzed man finds new lease on life as driver

He holds a 5 star rating on Uber Eats and Lyft
Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 16:21:50-05

Ordering takeout is something that’s become second nature during the pandemic.

We’ve spent more time masked, indoors, and social distancing in order to prevent viral spread.

Others like Joe Ault saw it as an opportunity to cash in on the increased demand for delivery drivers.

“It’s something to earn a couple extra spending dollars, get out, give the family a break, get me a break from the family, get out socialize,” said Ault.

A self-professed car lover, Ault said driving is symbolic of an independence he’s learned to never take for granted.

Eight years ago he was at work when he was rushed to the hospital after collapsing with extremely high blood pressure.

“While in the ER I became paralyzed. My feet went numb, my legs went numb, I couldn’t move them,” he recalled.

The diagnosis? Transverse Myelitis brought on by a spinal stroke, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. Ault said it came out of the blue.

“I was always for the most part, in shape. I enjoyed working out enjoyed coaching my kids so that was a big thing,” Ault said.

Ault’s three kids and wife were a big part of what pushed him through recovery.

“My family is the most important to me and then my faith and then my friendship and with those three things it just makes life really easy,” he said.

They were there for him then, and in May of 2020, when his life again came to a screeching halt with a leukemia diagnosis. Rigorous chemotherapy treatments put the disease into remission. Through it all he says he’s most grateful for how close it brought him to his family.

His stepson, Max Nassar, said, “for him to be in the position he’s in and still be at it every day it gives me no excuse to not try my best at everything.”

Ault’s other light at the end of the tunnel became a fully adapted van and a gig driving for Uber Eats and Lyft.

“I was looking to drive everywhere. 'Oh you need to go to the supermarket.' I’ll go. It’s freedom, you know, it’s like getting your license for the first time I had the freedom to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted,” said Ault.

The unique setup is complete with an automatic ramp giving him the independence he said is priceless.

He’s become a crowd favorite with five star ratings on both platforms.

All in all, he said he wouldn't change anything about his journey.

“It’s thrown me into a world I’ve never known about before the world of handicap and it’s given me a great platform to be able to talk to people and learn from people and understand what other people are going through,” said Ault.